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Arsenal of Democracy Cover

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Arsenal of Democracy

The American Automobile Industry in World War II

Charles K. Hyde

Throughout World War II, Detroit's automobile manufacturers accounted for one-fifth of the dollar value of the nation's total war production, and this amazing output from "the arsenal of democracy" directly contributed to the allied victory. In fact, automobile makers achieved such production miracles that many of their methods were adopted by other defense industries, particularly the aircraft industry. In Arsenal of Democracy: The American Automobile Industry in World War II, award-winning historian Charles K. Hyde details the industry's transition to a wartime production powerhouse and some of its notable achievements along the way. Hyde examines several innovative cooperative relationships that developed between the executive branch of the federal government, U.S. military services, automobile industry leaders, auto industry suppliers, and the United Automobile Workers (UAW) union, which set up the industry to achieve production miracles. He goes on to examine the struggles and achievements of individual automakers during the war years in producing items like aircraft engines, aircraft components, and complete aircraft; tanks and other armored vehicles; jeeps, trucks, and amphibians; guns, shells, and bullets of all types; and a wide range of other weapons and war goods ranging from search lights to submarine nets and gyroscopes. Hyde also considers the important role played by previously underused workers-namely African Americans and women-in the war effort and their experiences on the line. Arsenal of Democracy includes an analysis of wartime production nationally, on the automotive industry level, by individual automakers, and at the single plant level. For this thorough history, Hyde has consulted previously overlooked records collected by the Automobile Manufacturers Association that are now housed in the National Automotive History Collection of the Detroit Public Library. Automotive historians, World War II scholars, and American history buffs will welcome the compelling look at wartime industry in Arsenal of Democracy.

The Arsenal of Democracy Cover

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The Arsenal of Democracy

The American Automobile Industry in World War II

Artisan Workers in the Upper South Cover

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Artisan Workers in the Upper South

Petersburg, Virginia, 1820-1865

Diane Barnes

Though deeply entrenched in antebellum life, the artisans who lived and worked in Petersburg, Virginia, in the 1800s—including carpenters, blacksmiths, coach makers, bakers, and other skilled craftsmen—helped transform their planter-centered agricultural community into one of the most industrialized cities in the Upper South. These mechanics, as the artisans called themselves, successfully lobbied for new railroad lines and other amenities they needed to open their factories and shops, and turned a town whose livelihood once depended almost entirely on tobacco exports into a bustling modern city. In Artisan Workers in the Upper South, L. Diane Barnes closely examines the relationships between Petersburg's skilled white, free black, and slave mechanics and the roles they played in southern Virginia's emerging market economy. Barnes demonstrates that, despite studies that emphasize the backwardness of southern development, modern industry and the institution of slavery proved quite compatible in the Upper South. Petersburg joined the industrialized world in part because of the town's proximity to northern cities and resources, but it succeeded because its citizens capitalized on their uniquely southern resource: slaves. Petersburg artisans realized quickly that owning slaves could increase the profitability of their businesses, and these artisans—including some free African Americans—entered the master class when they could. Slave-owning mechanics, both white and black, gained wealth and status in society, and they soon joined an emerging middle class. Not all mechanics could afford slaves, however, and those who could not struggled to survive in the new economy. Forced to work as journeymen and face the unpleasant reality of permanent wage labor, the poorer mechanics often resented their inability to prosper like their fellow artisans. These differing levels of success, Barnes shows, created a sharp class divide that rivaled the racial divide in the artisan community. Unlike their northern counterparts, who united as a political force and organized strikes to effect change, artisans in the Upper South did not rise up in protest against the prevailing social order. Skilled white mechanics championed free manual labor—a common refrain of northern artisans—but they carefully limited the term "free" to whites and simultaneously sought alliances with slaveholding planters. Even those artisans who didn't own slaves, Barnes explains, rarely criticized the wealthy planters, who not only employed and traded with artisans, but also controlled both state and local politics. Planters, too, guarded against disparaging free labor too loudly, and their silence, together with that of the mechanics, helped maintain the precariously balanced social structure. Artisan Workers in the Upper South rejects the notion of the antebellum South as a semifeudal planter-centered political economy and provides abundant evidence that some areas of the South embraced industrial capitalism and economic modernity as readily as communities in the North.

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The Ascent of Chiefs

Cahokia and Mississippian Politics in Native North America

Written by Timothy R. Pauketat

This ambitious book provides a theoretical explanation of how prehistoric Cahokia became a stratified society, and ultimately the pinnacle of Native American cultural achievement north of Mexico. Considering Cahokia in terms of class struggle, Pauketat claims that the political consolidation in this region of the Mississippi Valley happened quite suddenly, around A.D. 1000, after which the lords of Cahokia innovated strategies to preserve their power and ultimately emerged as divine chiefs. The new ideas and new data in this volume will invigorate the debate surrounding one of the most important developments in North American prehistory.

Ashbel P. Fitch Cover

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Ashbel P. Fitch

Champion of Old New York

David F. Remington

The concept of an "honest Tammany man" sounds like an oxymoron, but it became a reality in the curious career of Ashbel P. Fitch, who served New York City as a four-term congressman and a one-term city comptroller during the late nineteenth century. Although little known today, Fitch was well respected in his own day and played a pivotal role on both national and local stages. In the U.S. Congress, Fitch was a passionate advocate of New York City. His support of tariff reform and his efforts to have New York City chosen as the site for an 1892 World Exposition reflected his deep interest in issues of industrialization and urbanization. An ardent defender of immigrant rights, Fitch opposed the xenophobia of the times and championed cosmopolitan diversity. As New York’s comptroller, he oversaw the city’s finances during a time of terrible economic distress, withstanding threats from Tammany Hall on one side and from Mayor William L. Strong’s misguided reform administration on the other. In Ashbel P. Fitch, Remington succeeds in illuminating the independence and integrity of this unsung hero against the backdrop of the Gilded Age’s corrupt politics and fierce party loyalty.

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Asian Indians in Michigan

Arthur W. Helweg

Since 1970, a growing number of Asian Indians have called Michigan home. Representative of the “new immigration,” Asian Indians come from a democratic country, are well-educated, and come from middle- and upper-class families. Unlike older immigrant groups, Asian Indians do not form urban ethnic enclaves or found their own communities to meet the challenges of living in a new society. As Arthur W. Helweg shows, Asian Indians contribute to the richness and diversity of Michigan’s culture through active participation in local institutions, while maintaining a strong ethnic identity rooted in India.

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Asian Settler Colonialism

From Local Governance to the Habits of Everyday Life in Hawai`i

Candace Fujikane & Jonathan Y. Okamura (eds.)

Asian Settler Colonialism is a groundbreaking collection that examines the roles of Asians as settlers in Hawai‘i. Contributors from various fields and disciplines investigate aspects of Asian settler colonialism to illustrate its diverse operations and impact on Native Hawaiians. Essays range from analyses of Japanese, Korean, and Filipino settlement to accounts of Asian settler practices in the legislature, the prison industrial complex, and the U.S. military to critiques of Asian settlers’ claims to Hawai‘i in literature and the visual arts.

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At Pyramid Lake

The story of Pyramid Lake and the people who have cared for it, those who nearly destroyed it, and the many who visited without knowing there was a conflict. Mergen grew up in Reno and visited the lake frequently in childhood. The narrative of Pyramid Lake is much more than Indians and water wars. It is the story of railroads on the Reservation and the role of federal, state, and private organizations interested in sport fishing. It is about scientists, artists, and tourists who were captivated by the lake’s beauty. It is about a place celebrated in poetry, literature, and film. Finally it is also a story of the lake as a place of spiritual renewal, celebration, and recreation. It is a multi-faceted and continuing story.

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The Athens of America

Boston, 1825-1845

Thomas H. O'Connor

Many people are generally familiar with the fact that Boston was once known as “the Athens of America.” Very few, however, are clear about exactly why, except for their recollections of the famous writers and poets who gave the city a reputation for literature and learning. In this book, historian Thomas H. O’Connor sets the matter straight by showing that Boston’s eminence during the first half of the nineteenth century was the result of a much broader community effort. After the nation emerged from its successful struggle for independence, most Bostonians visualized their city not only as the Cradle of Liberty, but also as the new world’s Cradle of Civilization. According to O’Connor, a leadership elite, composed of men of prominent family background, Unitarian beliefs, liberal education, and managerial experience in a variety of enterprises, used their personal talents and substantial financial resources to promote the cultural, intellectual, and humanitarian interests of Boston to the point where it would be the envy of the nation. Not only did writers, scholars, and philosophers see themselves as part of this process, but so did physicians and lawyers, ministers and teachers, merchants and businessmen, mechanics and artisans, all involved in creating a well-ordered city whose citizens would be committed to the ideals of social progress and personal perfectibility. To accomplish their noble vision, leading members of the Boston community joined in programs designed to cleanse the old town of what they felt were generations of accumulated social stains and human failures, and then to create new programs and more efficient institutions that would raise the cultural and intellectual standards of all its citizens. Like ancient Athens, Boston would be a city of great statesmen, wealthy patrons, inspiring artists, and profound thinkers, headed by members of the “happy and respectable classes” who would assume responsibility for the safety, welfare, and education of the “less prosperous portions of the community.” Designed for the general reader and the historical enthusiast, The Athens of America is an interpretive synthesis that explores the numerous secondary sources that have concentrated on individual subjects and personalities, and draws their various conclusions into a single comprehensive narrative.

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Atlanta and Environs

A Chronicle of Its People and Events, 1880s-1930s

Franklin M. Garrett

Atlanta and Environs is, in every way, an exhaustive history of the Atlanta Area from the time of its settlement in the 1820s through the 1970s. Volumes I and II, together more than two thousand pages in length, represent a quarter century of research by their author, Franklin M. Garrett a man called "a walking encyclopedia on Atlanta history" by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. With the publication of Volume III, by Harold H. Martin, this chronicle of the South's most vibrant city incorporates the spectacular growth and enterprise that have characterized Atlanta in recent decades.<p/>

The work is arranged chronologically, with a section devoted to each decade, a chapter to each year. Volume I covers the history of Atlanta and its people up to 1880 ranging from the city's founding as "Terminus" through its Civil War destruction and subsequent phoenixlike rebirth. Volume II details Atlanta's development from 1880 through the 1930s including occurrences of such diversity as the development of the Coca-Cola Company and the Atlanta premiere of Gone with the Wind. Taking up the city's fortunes in the 1940s, Volume III spans the years of Atlanta's greatest growth. Tracing the rise of new building on the downtown skyline and the construction of Hartsfield International Airport on the city's perimeter, covering the politics at City Hall and the box scores of Atlanta's new baseball team, recounting the changing terms of race relations and the city's growing support of the arts, the last volume of Atlanta and Environs documents the maturation of the South's preeminent city.<p/>

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